Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Transfiguration of John Fahey

Play it: I Am The Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey
Play it: John Fahey's Original Versions from Tribute
Play it: Return of the Repressed - The John Fahey Anthology
(mostly reassembled from great Rhino compilation)

Any tribute album of John Fahey is bound to fall short of his growing legend. I Am The Resurrection, however, does achieve one very important thing. It makes you want to hear the real thing. With contributions from indie stars like Sufjan Stevens, Devendra Banhart and M. Ward, it's apparent where his influence lies (see Freak Folk Beginnings.)

Naturally, since guitar is the focal point with Fahey, the tribute follows suit (with the exception of Howie Gelb, who understands that Fahey plays guitar like the piano, and thus interprets "My Grandfather's Clock" so succinctly.) Other standout tracks include Pelt's run through "Sunflower River Blues," Calexico's "Dance of Death" and the courageous "When the Catfish is in Bloom" from Peter Case. The rest are a mixed bag (Stevens decides to play up the hymn buried in "Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion at Magruder Park,") mostly reminding you just how good Fahey was at his craft. The tracks selected lack the full range of his catalogue (Native American, Raga, Tibetan chants, sounds of nature, etc.,) and instead focus on what only influenced them (blues picking,) which is fair enough... but it begs a listen to the original 'Blind Joe Death' himself. An excellent compilation is Rhino's Return of the Repressed: The John Fahey Anthology, which isn't in Rhapsody, but I've mostly reassembled here for you (Play it.)

Also listen to selections from the tribute on Myspace.com's site for the album.

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drake leLane said...

I Am The Resurrection: A Tribute to John Fahey

01 Death of the Clayton Peacock" - Fruit Bats
02 "Sunflower River Blues" - Pelt
03 "Variation On 'Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion at Magruder Park'" - Sufjan Stevens
04 "Sligo River" - Devendra Banhart
05 "Dance of Death" - Calexico
06 "The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Brooklyn Bridge Version: The Coelcanth" - Lee Ranaldo feat. The Lazy 8 Chorale
07 "Bean Vine Blues" - M. Ward
08 "The Portland Cement Factory at Monolith, CA" - Cul de Sac
09 "Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip XIV of Spain" - Grandaddy
10 "Joe Kirby Blues" - Bruce Kaphan and Victor Krummenacher
11 "Medley: John Hurt Shiva Shankarah" - Currituck Co.
12 "When the Catfish Is In Bloom" - Peter Case
13 "My Grandfather's Clock" - Howe Gelb

drake leLane said...

John Fahey - Tribute's original songs

* "The Death Of The Clayton Peacock" - John Fahey
* "Sunflower River Blues" - John Fahey
* "Commemorative Transfiguration and Communion at Magruder Park" - John Fahey
* "Sligo River Blues" - John Fahey
* "Dance Of Death" - John Fahey
* "The Singing Bridge of Memphis, Tennessee" - John Fahey
* "Bean Vine Blues" - John Fahey
* "Requiem For John Hurt" - John Fahey
* "Jaya Shiva Shankarah" - John Fahey
* "When The Catfish Is In Bloom" - John Fahey
* "My Grandfather's Clock" - John Fahey

drake leLane said...

Return of the Repressed - The John Fahey Anthology

* "Desperate Man Blues" - John Fahey
* "Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Phillip XIV" - John Fahey
* "Sligo River Blues" - John Fahey
* "Sun Gonna Shine In My Back Door Someday Blues" - John Fahey
* "On Doing An Evil Deed Blues" - John Fahey
* "I'm Gonna Do All I Can For My Lord" - John Fahey
* "Some Summer Day" - John Fahey
* "Worried Blues" - John Fahey
* "Tell Her To Come Back Home" - John Fahey
* "Poor Boy" - John Fahey
* "Orinda-Moraga" - John Fahey
* "The Death Of The Clayton Peacock" - John Fahey
* "Brenda's Blues" - John Fahey
* "On The Sunny Side Of The Ocean" - John Fahey
* "Revelation On The Banks Of The Pawtuxent" - John Fahey
* "Knott's Berry Farm Molly" - John Fahey
* "Knoxville Blues" - John Fahey
* "Sunflower River Blues" - John Fahey
* "A Raga Called Pat (Part One)" - John Fahey
* "In Christ There Is No East Or West" - John Fahey
* "The Yellow Princess" - John Fahey
* "Lion" - John Fahey
* "The Revolt Of The Dyke Brigade" - John Fahey
* "The Portland Cement Factory At Monolith California" - John Fahey
* "Theme And Variations" - John Fahey
* "Lava On Waikiki" - John Fahey
* "Samba De Orfeo" - John Fahey
* "Rain Forest" - John Fahey
* "The Sea Of Love" - John Fahey

Jennifer Scott said...

Another Fahey tribute worth checking out:
"John Fahey and Friends - Friends of Fahey Tribute"

Being a huge Fahey fan myself I actually like this tribute better than the Resurrection. Most of these artists have written their own songs inspired by John Fahey instead of trying to copy perfection. You can find it at http://www.slackertone.com.

Enjoy! :o)

drake leLane said...

thanks for the tip, js!

Stephen said...

It's probably worth pointing out that Bean Vine Blues #2 (covered by M. Ward)was not a Fahey piece at all; it is actually 'The Easy Winner' performed by the Blue Boys and originally released on Okeh in 1928.

It only appeared on later pressings and why John decided to appropriate the old recording is the subject of lively debate.

I love Fahey, but do find the whole genre of tribute albums rather sad.

Stephen said...

Later pressings of 'Voice of the Turtle', that is.